If you own an Android tablet, it can be just as magical as the "new" iPad that Apple just recently announced. Here are some addictive Android apps you'll want to take everywhere.
A study by the tech consulting firm Rosetta says 68 percent of new tablet owners will take their devices to bed – and 24 percent will carry them into the bathroom. I’ve done both.
Of course, it’s not the tablet that’s so magical. It’s the apps. In the few months I’ve had my Samsung Galaxy Tab, I’ve downloaded dozens of apps, some good and some not worth the couple bucks. Here are the most addictive I’ve found – so good that I’ve taken them to both bed and bathroom…
Owners who have had their device for less than six months typically spend about half of their tablet time reading books and periodicals. That’s a good chunk of time, so you’ll need a great eReader…
1. Aldiko – It has both a free and paid version ($2.99), and on both, you can customize your screen by font type, size, and color for easier reading. It also has a dictionary to look up words or phrases. Best of all, unlike many eReader apps, you can either download your personal library or purchase new books.
2. FBReader – It has a network library where you can access your own book collection or download new books from catalogs like Feedbooks and Smashwords. The app doesn’t have settings to change the standard font, but it does include zoom and navigate.
3. Kindle app – It only works with books you purchased through Amazon’s Kindle library, and while I prefer open-source apps, Kindle does have a lending feature to swap books with your friends. Not all books qualify, but I’ve read about a dozen so far that do.
According to the Rosetta study, in the first six months, you’ll spend up to 40 percent of your tablet time playing games. The Android Market has countless free games, but these are my standbys…
4. Angry Birds Rio – While you can also download the ad-supported version of the original Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, this is my favorite. Angry Birds Rio is more of a puzzle than the original, and it’s easier to beat than Seasons. Plus, the game looks gorgeous on the large tablet screen, as opposed to a small smartphone.
5. Fruit Ninja – OK, so you’re just slicing fruit with your finger, but as of this year, 40,000 Android Market reviewers gave it five stars. The graphics are nice, the gameplay is strangely addicting, and the free ad-supported version works just as well as the paid version.
6. Brain Cube – This is one of the more challenging puzzle games available. The concept is simple: Roll the cube into the hole. But some levels are complex. You’ll have to pay for the HD version ($1.99), but you really don’t need it. The basic version looks fine and plays well on a tablet screen.
Music and podcast players
In the first six months, you’ll spend 32 percent of your tablet time playing music and podcasts, according to Rosetta. So here’s what to play them on…
7. WinAmp – I think the built-in Android player is too complicated, so I use this. The WinAmp app has a simple interface, a clean design, and an easier way to create playlists. Everything you need in a player without all the bright colors and multiple-click menus.
8. Pandora – You can create your own radio station and stream music to your tablet. Pandora isn’t the only online streaming app available, but it’s by far the smartest. The app creates a playlist based on your favorite artists or bands – and only plays related music.
9. TuneWiki – Part music player, part Internet search, this app gives you lyrics to any song you play, and it has a few social networking features that allow you to discuss songs or share ideas with other members.
Of course, there are thousands more apps to choose from. But these are the ones that I use all the time – even in the facilities.